At the University of Dallas, we are taught to always strive for what is good– in our private lives as well as our public. However, it seems that many of us fail to factor this into our financial lives. James Kimsey, co-founder of AOL, said the following concerning the act of donating to charities:
“There are only four things you can do with your money: You can give it to the government, you can spend it, you can give it to your kids to their detriment… And the fourth thing you can do with your money is create something good with it. I think it’s incumbent on everybody with any amount of funds at all to start thinking like that.”
Part of being a college student is being perpetually broke. It’s the first time you realize how little $20 is while simultaneously realizing how much it is. Most, if not all, of us have probably found ourselves paying for Cap Bar coffee or McDonald’s in copious amounts of quarters and dimes that were found lying around our rooms.
However, I think it is extremely important to consider what Kimsey said, especially in relation to our mission as students striving for the good. Regardless of how small our incomes may be, there is at least one way or another that we can afford to be charitable and “create something good.”
In light of Charity Week, here is a broke student’s guide to donating to charity.
- Make a spare change jar: Spend some time researching charities and pick one that inspires you to make a difference. Once you pick your charity, print off their mission statement or a photo that has a special effect on you and tape it on or next to the jar to remind yourself of your mission. Every now and then skip out on the extra Cap Bar coffee or McDonalds and put your extra change to a good cause.
- Donate old clothes: Instead of selling old clothes online or exchanging them in consignment shops, donate your clothes to a local center such as Salvation Army or Goodwill.
- Give blood: Giving blood is completely free, and you get some snacks and treats afterwards. If you cannot make the on-campus blood drives, you can go to the American Red Cross website and look at local drives. There are typically drives every day of the week.
- Skip the sides: Next time you’re ordering food or getting drinks, skip the add-ons. Even though sizing up to large fries is only $1 more, that dollar can go a lot further when donated to a struggling family in a third world country.
- Donate a percentage of your yearly tax return: This is a hard one. Tax return is one of the greatest times of the year in a college student’s life. It practically feels like you’re being given free money, so why would anyone want to give that up? Well, the good news is, you do not have to give up all the money; however, you should consider donating 10% to your church or a local homeless shelter.
Giving to charity is tough, especially when you’re already low on funds. However, you can start out slow by just setting aside spare change or small percentages of your next paycheck. As students in pursuit of what is good, it is our responsibility to be charitable with our resources and give to those in need.